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Booking a room in October

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We plan to drive around the Loire, Dordogne and Haute Marne (Champagne) regions in very early and mid-October. Do we need to book our accommodation before we go or will most of the smaller B&B or guest house-type places have rooms that time of year? We'd very much like to have the freedom to just base ourselves in one town for a couple of days and explore the countryside in the rental car, with the flexibilty to change destinations as the mood strikes. But if we can't do that, we'll book ahead and hope we like our choices.

Also, in the Haute Marne I am trying to trace my family history (Crance). Any suggestions on where we should go and who we should see? I know my geat grandfather Joseph Crance was born and raised there (do not know the town) and migrated to Ohio in the 1850s. We think we might start out at Chamont.

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